By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At the MEMS Priestfield Stadium
Newcastle United 1 (Egan og 24)
Newcastle United are into the third round of the Capital One Cup following a 1-0 victory at Gillingham on Tuesday night.
An own goal from former Sunderland defender John Egan separated the sides at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium, and the Magpies were well worth their victory, despite the narrow scoreline, having looked lively on the front foot, creating a number of good openings.
Siem de Jong, Emmanuel Riviere, Rolando Aarons, Massadio Haidara, Remy Cabella and Fabricio Coloccini all threatened the League One side but it was the unfortunate Egan who found the back of the net midway through the first half, diverting Gabriel Obertan's cross in at the near post.
At the other end, Newcastle were rarely threatened, although goalkeeper Tim Krul made one excellent tip-over with time running out.
And manager Alan Pardew will be delighted with a professional performance from his side, which secured a safe passage through a tricky second round tie.
A lively opening saw both teams have spells of possession without testing either keeper, but the contest suddenly sparked into life on 11 minutes.
Massadio Haidara's powerful run down the left took him past a couple of Gills challenges before delivering into the feet of de Jong seven yards out.
With his back to goal, the Dutchman controlled, swivelled and pulled the trigger, only to see defender Callum Davies bravely block his effort from point-blank range, with Bradley Dack providing the same to prevent Mehdi Abeid driving home the loose ball.
Riviere worked home goalkeeper Stephen Bywater on 23 minutes, receiving Haidara's throw-in, turning away from his marker and trying to find a gap at the near post.
But seconds later, they had found a way past the experienced former West Ham and Derby stopper.
Obertan made his way to the byline before delivering a low cross in the direction of Riviere. It would have been a tap-in for the former Monaco man but it didn't make it that far, with defender Egan instead diverting it into his own net.
That silenced what had been a vociferous home crowd, and the visitors soon went in search of goal number two.
Haidara was causing the hosts all kinds of problems down the left and from another one of his crosses in the 36th minute, Aarons scooped an effort straight at Bywater.
Gillingham responded and were almost on level terms straight after, with wing-back Matt Fish cutting in off the right and curling a left-footed strike inches wide of Tim Krul's top corner. But the visitors' clean sheet remained in tact as the sides went into the break.
Newcastle began the second half on the front foot, with Haidara again catching the eye.
First, yet another outstanding cross was prodded over the top by Riviere, before the French full-back took matters into his own hands, letting fly from fully 30 yards and seeing the strike cannon off the crossbar and into the Magpies' fans behind the goal.
Captain Fabricio Coloccini tried to get in on the act just past the hour mark, picking up the scraps from a half-cleared corner but striking straight at Bywater from distance.
Krul made a hash of a back pass, firing the ball into home substitute Luke Norris, and was fortunate to see it come back to his feet rather than end up in the net.
But he made amends seconds later, brilliantly tipping over from the same player, who had wriggled clear of Coloccini's attentions on the edge of the area.
With 12 minutes remaining, Cabella skipped in off the right flank and planted a left-footed shot towards the bottom corner, which Bywater was equal to, before Daryl Janmaat saw an effort of his own blocked by the home defence.
However, a second goal wasn't needed as, despite a late flurry of home pressure, the Magpies held firm to book their place in round three.
Gillingham (3-5-2): Stephen Bywater; Leon Legge, John Egan, Callum Davies; Matt Fish, Jake Hessenthaler, Bradley Dack, Josh Pritchard (Aaron Morris 46), Kortney Hause; Danny Kedwell (c) (Luke Norris 65), Cody McDonald (Antonio German 65)
Subs not used: Glen Morris, Gavin Hoyte, Brennan Dickenson, Jermaine McGlashan
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Daryl Janmaat, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Massadio Haidara; Moussa Sissoko, Mehdi Abeid; Gabriel Obertan, Siem de Jong (Ayoze Perez 68), Rolando Aarons (Remy Cabella 60); Emmanuel Riviere (Yoan Gouffran 85)
Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)
Bookings: Gillingham - none; Newcastle - none